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post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have a 4 year old DD who is Deaf.
Sometimes I feel like we are making no progress. She won't help me dress her, I carry her to and from the car, sometimes she won't feed herself. She doesn't have any other issues that we know about so why isn't she more independant?
She still only uses one word sentances and points. I feel like we can communicate only about 30% of the time. She won't ever sit down!! If we try to read a book she wants to look at the pictures for 5 seconds and be done, she is not interested in the story at all.
I feel like I have had an 18 month old for 3 years. I don't know what to do.
post #2 of 16

I have a few ideas from what you've given in your post. I don't think all of these are right but they are just possibilities.

1. She has something else going on besides being deaf. A four year old is perfectly capable of getting dressed even if he/she needs some help with buttons, etc., and walking to and from the car, and self-feeding.

2. She is exhibiting learned helplessness and you are going along with that as the status-quo rather than requiring her to become more independent.

3. How are you communicating? I assume with ASL? Have you learned it semi-fluently or are you learning as you go along? How is her sign vocabulary? Does she have any trouble making the signs with her fingers? I am concerned by the lack of sentences because as long as she understands the signs, how to make them, and sees sentence modeled frequently, she should be making them.

From your post, I would guess, although I might change my mind with more information, that number 2 is going on big time as I've seen this with most parents that I work with to some degree. I work in early intervention, supervising programs for children who receive them at home before entering Kindergarten. I often see that parents continue to do things for their children beyond the time when the child needs the help either because the child is not asserting independence or because the parent is just used to doing something for the child and so continues to do so long past when it's necessary. If I were working with you, and I found this to be the case, I'd most likely work on helping you to fade your help in those areas. You can't just stop doing those things for her cold turkey but you can require her to participate more and more, and do less and less of it yourself.

I would also consider having her language assessed by a deaf/hard of hearing speech therapist to figure out exactly what is going on there.
post #3 of 16

I also have SN sons that are not very independent. It gets tiring.

Are there other issues you suspect might be going on? Things that you haven't had the emotional energy to address? (No judgement here...that happens to us all the time.)
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
We use ASL. I am ok but by no means fluent. She uses probably 700+ words but never more than a couple at a time.

As for her independence, I know she has the ability to do all these things, but she won't. If I didn't dress her in the mornings, she would just sit and say help me for literally hours. If she decides she doesn't want to feed herself she will just not eat (and don't give me the "she won't go hungry", because she has gone a full 8 hours without eating just to prove a point).
I don't know how to deal with this other than never going to school, because we can't leave until she dresses herself. How do I fix with this and continue to live a normal life?
post #5 of 16
Well FWIW, my DD is similar - not as extreme with the self-feeding thing...but she is definitely a bit of a "princess" where mom is concerned. She is almost 4. For now I'm willing to let it slide because we have other issues to deal with...look I'm just happy she finally potty trained! LOL

But with dressing, for example, if I'm not there, she will at least attempt it (like at camp) even if she gets things wrong...but if I'm anywhere in earshot she is all about "momma do it". I will encourage her and ask if she'd like to try, but when she refuses, I don't want to make it into a big battle of wills....I'm hoping that by the time she is school-age she will be more interested in self-care. If I get really desperate I will up the ante and try to do more game playing, etc to get her interested.

She will definitely eat better if I feed her....so I will sometimes when I think she's gone too long without food. But mostly I leave it up to her - but she's never gone 8 hours without eating...

I guess you could just encourage her to do more for herself in other areas that she *is* willing to do...for example, my DD is willing to carry her dish to the sink when she is finished. I let her cook muffins by herself (except the stove of course)....anything I can to help her advance her life skills....Maybe doing some of that will help you feel like you're not doing "everything" for her?

I'm just hoping that by 6 or so, when she gets more body aware, she will want to do more of this stuff by herself....

She won't ever sit down!! If we try to read a book she wants to look at the pictures for 5 seconds and be done, she is not interested in the story at all.
My DD is the same way. One thing that helps is to get pictures with items she likes in them (like balloons)...then I have her point out all the balloons. Then we talk about what color they are, etc. Eventually, we might get around to "what do you think the balloon is doing" etc. My DD will *rarely* sit for a story - her APD makes it just a bunch of words to her. So she prefers "fact" books with things she can point to and name. Maybe stick to those for a while until you get your DD into the reading "habit" and then give her more complex pictures. And repeat books over and over - she will see more each time she looks and get to know the "story" over time.

Also, my librarians have been good about recommending books where the pictures tell the story...so I point out what is happening in the picture, or ask her what she sees...that engages her alot more than the words of a story...


good luck mamma
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
The problem with books is that I can't speak to her until she looks up from the picture and by then she is turning the page! That is really a Deaf specific problem.

She loves doing other things by herself, she has been pottying since April of last year, she walks the dog, she can run her own bath...lots of stuff. It is just a few really specific things she won't do. Like today, she wouldn't help me put her shoes on, she layed there like a ragdoll while I tried to stuff her foot into a sneaker.

I get so frustrated!!!
post #7 of 16
Let me think about this and try to put together some coherent thoughts tomorrow.

Until then, ! It IS frustrating!
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Also, when she is refusing to do something like eat she tells me she is my baby. I don't have any other children so it isn't jealousy. I was always told that kids want to grow up and learn to do thing for themselves, she doesn't. She spent the whole summer at home with me, so it isn't preschool anxiety. I just don't know.
post #9 of 16
Is she on any medications that might be making her foggy or low-energy? Meds that affect cognition? Because sometimes those can have an effect on motivation, too (at least in our experience).
post #10 of 16
I'm wondering about sensory processing issues as well. Since she's deaf, she might have some issues with vestibular processing (motion, where her body is in space). You might want to read "Sensational Kids" or "The Out of Sync Child" and see if it fits at all. The not wanting to do self care, not wanting to walk to the car, and the not sitting still might be related to sensory issues. (Or I might just be hitting your problem with my favorite hammer. If that's the case, ignore me!)

Our son was very late in 'self care' kinds of issues because he has sensory issues, vestibular issues, poor bilateral coordination and poor motor planning. He just can't get his body to do what he wants it to do some days. So, he doesn't do anything.

I would see if your dd qualifies for an eval/treatment from an occupational therapist. This is exactly the kind of thing they can help you with. I would second the eval with a speech language pathologist too, just to see where her language.

With the book reading, I would continue to sign, even if she's not looking at you. She might be able to pick up on the signs through her peripheral vision. She doesn't need to look at you directly. (There's good research suggesting that users of ASL have much more accurate peripheral vision than those of us who don't. It makes sense if you think about it, since if you're deaf and communicating with ASL, you need to be able to both look at what someone is talking about AND take in the signs.)
post #11 of 16
Hi - My daughter (6.5 years) has a severe hearing impairment (lowest point is 75 dB). She is also a lot less independent than her peers. I honestly think it is related to her hearing impairment. They don't pick up on things that other children normally do. My daughter does not button her shirts. She can but she just doesn't. Last year she wouldn't dress herself at all.

My daughter has also developed this new fear. I can't go anywhere without her attached to my hip. I think that is related to her HL as well.

I wonder if OT would be helpful to her?

My daughter does not have any additional diagnosed needs.

My daughter still runs up to me when we are out for things that you would think any child could do. She runs to me to open her water bottle, etc. I really think it is all because of her loss.

I don't have any answers because this is one of the things that frustrates me to no end with my daughter. I haven't fixed it on my end - but just wanted to tell you someone else is in the same boat.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
You know how some days a quirk can suddenly look like a nightmare, I was having of of those morning.
My DD is so strong and stubborn that in the areas that she isn't, it seems like a huge deviation.
I think that she is just a lazy morning girl, and likes to feel "babied"
Her language and communication still concern me though....
post #13 of 16
well, i don't have this problem yet, as my lo (who is hoh - moderate to severe) is only 8 monhts - so i don't expect him to dress himself yet! but this jumped out at me:

Originally Posted by fairejour View Post
I don't know how to deal with this other than never going to school, because we can't leave until she dresses herself. How do I fix with this and continue to live a normal life?
maybe it's school that's the problem? maybe she doesn't like going to school for whatever reason, and so makes it as difficult as possible? is there any sort of pattern to her refusal to do things? maybe it's not school but something else along those lines that she doesn't like doing?

there is a 4-year-old in our playgroup who has cochlear and she turns it off all the time and puts her hands over her eyes... i am not looking forward to that age...
post #14 of 16
Originally Posted by fairejour View Post
You know how some days a quirk can suddenly look like a nightmare, I was having of of those morning.
My DD is so strong and stubborn that in the areas that she isn't, it seems like a huge deviation.
I think that she is just a lazy morning girl, and likes to feel "babied"
Her language and communication still concern me though....
Does she do things other than in the morning time that concern you? Is this her first year? Like the other poster said - it may have more to do with school. maybe you can try an award chart to get her going faster - make it a game?

Kaspar - ugh - I am dreading that as well. Though normally my daughter likes to hear and it is very upsetting for her when she suddenly can't because her aids have gone out (though she is getting to the point where there really isn't much difference between when they are on and when they are off!). I've heard many many stories about kids throwing their equipment across the room. I'm not looking forward to those frustrations.
post #15 of 16
I feel you... it must be tough to deal with all those issues on top of the language struggles.

I think one of the most essential skills that a deaf child needs is to develop eye contact. Generally, hearing people don't need to develop eye contact in communication, and often this is overlooked when working on communication with a deaf child. If your daughter struggles with sitting still, watching you read a story, and so on... then this may be something that you could focus on. Getting down to her level and signing. Taking away the book and memorizing a few short stories or rhymes or word play to repeat with her to get her to improve her eye contact and communication. Repetition is a great thing! A set schedule and space for story time on a daily basis? What does your daughter respond to that you could work with?

How does she respond when you're signing with her, does she show comprehension? Do you feel that your signing is clear and comprehensive? Does she have continual exposure to signed language with other members of your family and at school? Does she have any fluent signing models- native ASL users et al?

Just throwing out some ideas and things to think about.

FWIW, my deaf daughter is WAY more independent than my hearing daughter! It could be just a personality quirk. But, one thing is for sure- my deaf daughter does benefit from a language-rich environment at home, with family, school, and with the people in our life. We talk, talk, and talk all the time. It is even more important with a deaf child that we place a high value on conversation and continual access to language.
post #16 of 16
It might be worth considering taking her to an OT or a developmental ped that is familiar with deaf children. It's possible that she is dealing with other issues in addition to being a stubborn 4 year old.

Does she get to socialize with other deaf children? That may be a help as well.
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